Theresa May will try to re-energise her general election campaign today by urging working-class Labour and Ukip voters to switch to the Conservatives over Brexit. With a new poll indicating that Labour is solidifying recent gains, the prime minister will seize on “aggressive” Brexit demands from Brussels to insist that only she can negotiate a deal to “define” Britain’s future. She will also explicitly woo voters who are concerned about immigration and Britain’s sovereignty, saying that their views have been “ridiculed and ignored for too long”. The Tories’ decision to use the final full week of campaigning to refocus on Brexit comes after a poll suggested that attempts to portray Jeremy Corbyn as soft on terrorism had failed to win over voters.
Theresa May will today declare Jeremy Corbyn is too weak to negotiate Brexit as she seeks to put the country’s exit from the EU ‘truly at the heart of this election campaign’. In a direct appeal to voters, the Prime Minister will argue she is the only leader who can take on ‘aggressive’ Eurocrats in Brussels, with formal talks to start just 11 days after polling day. The rallying call in which she will brand herself ‘the Prime Minister 100 per cent committed’ to Brexit is hoped to focus voters’ minds on the stark choice they face to halt a drop in the Tory poll lead. During a visit to the West Midlands, Mrs May will put immigration unapologetically at the core of her speech, with a pledge to stand up for voters who have lost jobs or seen their wages fall because of high numbers of arrivals.
Theresa May will warn today that Brussels has adopted an “aggressive negotiating position” for talks that will begin just eleven days after the election. Ms May has long argued that only she, and not Jeremy Corbyn, is capable of leading Britain’s negotiations with Brussels, a point she will make again on Tuesday in a speech in the West Midlands. The Conservatives have highlighted the most recent EU negotiating guidelines released by the European Commission, including mention of the so-called “divorce bill” which calls for a “single financial settlement” covering all the UK’s outstanding liabilities. “This single financial settlement should be based on the principle that the United Kingdom must honour its share of the financing of all the obligations undertaken while it was a member of the Union,” the paper said.
A FORMER Met Police counter-terror chief insists Britain’s security won’t be affected by Brexit – because of our spooks’ global reach. Richard Walton said Britain would hardly notice any difference in counter-terrorism work if it ceased to be a member of Europol. And he said the huge efforts made to build up deploy operatives “on the ground” and the UK’s direct, state-to-state, relationships with individual countries were far more important. Writing for the Policy Exchange think tank he said: “The reality is that Brexit will have little, if any, impact on UK counter terrorism operations.” He added: “We are still in the EU – so the status quo in security cooperation remains. It didn’t stop the Manchester attacks.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has urged European MPs to be vigilant throughout the Brexit talks because there is a risk of unfair British competition. Mr Barnier was speaking at an EU parliamentary conference in Malta. The negotiations on UK withdrawal from the EU are scheduled to start on 19 June. “We want full transparency for these negotiations,” Mr Barnier said. The UK’s exit bill and EU citizens’ rights are likely to be tough issues. Mr Barnier and EU leaders say they want to see “sufficient progress” on those issues, and Northern Ireland border arrangements, before embarking on talks aimed at a long-term EU-UK trade deal. However, the British government wants trade talks to be conducted in parallel with the talks on UK withdrawal terms.
The formerly pro-Euro, now pro-EU Financial Times has been forced to admit that business investment in Brexit Britain has been just fine since the country voted to Leave the European Union. As the FT admit themselves, those clever economists all lined up to predict a decline in investment. “But the effect has been more muted than expected” the FT now openly say, citing figures that show an increase in total investment of 0.5% in 2016 and business investment increasing by 0.8% at the start of 2017. Foreign direct investment jumped in 2016, up £33 billion from the previous year, whilst the country is welcoming a record number of tourists to our shores.
THERESA May will warn today that Britain needs strong leadership in Brexit negotiations as the European Commission yesterday adopted “an aggressive position”. In a devastating attack, the Prime Minister will raise the prospect of the “weak leadership” offered by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his lack of a plan to deal with Britain leaving the European Union. Today’s speech in the North West of England follows a live TV grilling last night for Mrs May and Mr Corbyn on Sky News and Channel 4. Mr Corbyn, who faced up to an interrogation from Jeremy Paxman and a studio audience first, faced serious questions over his past support for terrorist murderers in the IRA, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Theresa May has undergone a massive Brexit wobble on live television. She admitted she voted Remain but feels she has to “make a success of Brexit” against her will, to loud jeers from the public audience. May said: “I set out my reasons for deciding why we should stay in the EU. I voted to remain but the British people were given the choice and decided they wanted to leave the EU. “I’m delivering what the British people want the government to deliver.”
Theresa May was forced to defend Conservative plans for a “dementia tax” and cuts to the NHS, police and school budgets in a bruising encounter with the public in the first televised election “debate” last night. The prime minister repeatedly tried to turn the agenda on to Brexit as audience members pressed her on Tory reductions in public spending. A midwife told her that she witnessed “efficiency savings that were cuts” and staff “at their wits’ end”, a policeman attacked her for cutting officer numbers, while a pensioner berated the prime minister for her planned changes to social care.
Jeremy Corbyn has said he is “not a dictator” as he justified why a series of long-held beliefs, including scrapping Trident, nationalising Britain’s banks and dissolving the monarchy, had not been included in Labour’s manifesto. The opposition leader made the comments in the face of intense questioning from a studio audience and interviewer Jeremy Paxman, who also called Theresa May a “blowhard” in the May v Corbyn Live: the Battle for No 10 programme aired on Channel 4 and Sky News. Corbyn said policies in his manifesto such as accepting the renewal of Trident after a lifetime of campaigning against the nuclear deterrent were part of his role at the helm of the Labour party.
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were left bruised but not battered as they survived tough questioning from voters and veteran interviewer Jeremy Paxman on Sky News. In the 90-minute programme, the Prime Minister was repeatedly challenged on her policy u-turns – while the Labour leader was grilled on his past support for the IRA. Both leaders dodged some awkward questions: Mr Corbyn on whether he would order the killing of a terrorist threatening an attack on the UK, and Mrs May on the Conservatives’ social care policy. Supporters of both party leaders claimed victory after the Battle For Number 10 show by Sky News and Channel 4 – the first in this General Election to be broadcast in front of a live TV audience.
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn faced questions on Brexit and foreign policy from a live studio audience in a special general election programme. Mr Corbyn was quizzed about his views on drone strikes, tax-raising plans and past campaigning in Northern Ireland. Mrs May defended her social care reforms and was repeatedly asked if she had changed her mind on Brexit. But the leaders did not appear together, as Mrs May declined to take part in a head-to-head encounter. The Labour leader chose to be first up in the Battle for Number 10 show, which was broadcast by Sky News and Channel 4, after winning a coin toss.
Theresa May squirmed as she was heckled by voters over funding for schools and the NHS tonight. But she moved to reassure pensioners in the wake of the ‘Dementia Tax’ row by reiterating that there will be an ‘absolute cap’ on how much they face paying for social care. She also fended off difficult questions about the reduction in the number of police officers. The rough ride as she faced the audience in a Sky News and Channel 4 election special, with just over a week to go until the nation goes to the polls. Earlier, Jeremy Corbyn was pummelled by voters over his support for the IRA during its reign of terror, refused to say whether his shadow chancellor still wants to abolish MI5, and declined to endorse his party’s support for the nuclear deterrent.
LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn took a battering from a TV audience last night over his firebrand left-wing views. The lifelong Socialist, 68, came under fire as he and PM and Tory chief Theresa May faced their toughest pre-election grilling so far. Listing her to-do list for the country, Mrs May vowed to be honest with Britain over the “big challenges ahead”. The pair each faced a 45- minute onslaught from the audience, and Jeremy Paxman, on joint Sky News and Channel 4 show, The Battle for Number 10. On immigration, Mr Corbyn would not promise to reduce the current net number of 248,000 new arrivals a year. His refusal to commit to bringing migration down has infuriated his own MPs.
Theresa May faced heckles and laughter from a live TV audience over the collapse of her election manifesto, as she refused to stop school cuts. Members of the audience giggled when the Prime Minister when she said Labour’s figures “don’t add up” – apparently amused that it was the Conservative manifesto that had to be rewritten. There was a shout of “you’ve clearly failed” when Ms May said, of school funding, “nobody can guarantee the real terms per funding increase”. The Prime Minister also refused to say at what level a cap on social care costs would be set, or how many millions of pensioners would lose winter fuel payments.
The leaders of the United Kingdom’s two primary political parties faced questions and cross-examination — although not from one another — in a live television debate Monday night. Following the refusal by Prime Minister Theresa May to face her rivals in a televised debate, the Sky News-Channel 4 co-hosted show saw Mrs May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responding to questions from the audience and interviewer Jeremy Paxman instead. Mr Corbyn took the floor first, getting off to a rocky start with questions from an apparently Northern Irish member of the audience on his past association with the IRA, but later finding hit feet — and a rapport with the audience — before losing his cool when questioned on higher taxation.
Theresa May must have been delighted. Jeremy Paxman’s much-vaunted interrogation with her proved in large part to be about immigration and Brexit. For Mrs May that was like going into a scary A-level and finding your two best essay topics just came up in the exam. No deal with the EU would be better than a bad deal, she said. Audience applause. She repeated the line. More audience applause. She was on home turf and it served her well. The Sky News/Channel 4 debate show was a rather odd event. Jeremy Corbyn, batting first, tried to put across a light-hearted image (despite his horrible pro-IRA history).
Jeremy Corbyn has re-ignited confusion over the party’s approach to the freeze on benefits after saying welfare payments will be up-rated under a Labour government. The Labour leader said benefits should be increased, despite a senior member of his shadow cabinet saying the move – which could cost some £3bn – would be unaffordable. In a live TV confrontation with Jeremy Paxman, Mr Corbyn was also once again challenged over his views on nuclear weapons, the IRA and militant groups in the middle east.
Jeremy Corbyn last night delivered the best TV performance of his leadership as he insisted he is ready to become Prime Minister next week. Critics from all sides of the political spectrum praised the Labour leader as he survived a live grilling from a Sky TV studio audience and presenter Jeremy Paxman. Vowing he is ready to become PM, Mr Corbyn said: “The choice is clearly there. “This manifesto – investing for the future, taxing a bit more for corporations and the very wealthiest. Or you can go down the road of continuing cuts in all areas of public austerity. “I don’t want to live in a country of food banks, of homeless people. I want to live in a country that really does care for all. “I am very proud of this manifesto, proud to lead this party. And I will be very proud to put this manifesto into action.”
A Northern Irish man challenged Jeremy Corbyn over attending a commemoration for IRA fighters killed during an attempted terror attack in Loughgall in 1987. Callum McNeill was a member of the studio audience during Sky News/Channel 4 leaders debate. Both Mr Corbyn and Theresa May were asked questions by the audience before being grilled by veteran political interviewer Jeremy Paxman. Mr McNeill asked the Labour leader why he had attended the meeting which “honoured” eight members of the republican terror cell who attempted to attack the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in the village.
Neil interviews Nuttall
Ukip would be prepared to bring back the detention of terrorist suspects without trial, its leader suggested yesterday, as the party attempted to put the terror threat at the centre of its election campaign. Paul Nuttall told the BBC in an interview that he “wouldn’t take anything off the table” when it came to dealing with the threat of violent extremism, including a return to internment. “When you read this morning there’s a suspected 23,000 jihadis living amongst us, obviously MI5 are stretched to capacity at this present moment in time,” he told BBC1’s The Andrew Neil Interviews.
Ukip’s leader has called for ministers to consider rounding up and jailing thousands of terror suspects without trial to prevent further attacks. Paul Nuttall said internment should be looked at as an option or atrocities such as the Manchester bombing ‘could become commonplace’. Mr Nuttall is hoping a focus on security and extremism will allow him to get a disastrous campaign back on track after Ukip’s support plunged to around 5 per cent. In a BBC One interview with Andrew Neil to be broadcast tonight, Mr Nuttall said ‘Obviously MI5 are stretched to capacity at this present moment in time. ‘
Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has suggested he would be prepared to back the detention without trial of suspected terrorists. Mr Nuttall said he “wouldn’t take anything off the table” when it came to dealing with the threat of violent extremism, including a return to internment. He told BBC1’s The Andrew Neil Interviews: “When you read this morning there’s a suspected 23,000 jihadis living amongst us, obviously MI5 are stretched to capacity at this present moment in time. “I think we’ve got to look at ways of ensuring that our people are safe, whether that is a return to control orders, whether that is tagging these people, who knows in the future maybe a return to internment.”
Families could see their council tax bills treble under Labour plans for a ‘garden tax’, the Tories claimed last night. The small print of Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto contains proposals to replace council tax and business rates with a Land Value Tax (LVT) on homes and gardens. Labour has pledged to use the levy –based on the land value rather than property prices – to raise extra money for their spending splurge. The Conservatives last night put the average cost at nearly £4,000 and warned the ‘devastating’ and ‘destructive’ tax would send house prices plummeting and plunge mortgage holders into negative equity. The Foreign Secretary declared the charge, which he branded the ‘garden tax’, would force families to sell off their backyards and send food prices soaring if farmers are forced to pay.
JEREMY Corbyn is preparing to hit households with a new “toxic” garden tax which will treble average council tax bills across the UK. The proposal hidden in the small print of Labour’s far Left manifesto could force people to sell their gardens and yards to avoid spiralling bills and could put many people into negative equity with their mortgages. It comes despite claims by shadow Chancellor John McDonnell that a Labour government would not add to the taxes of people earning below £80,000. But behind the income tax pledge is a proposal to gradually introduce a tax raid on their properties which is set to hit pensioners hardest.
British Airways was accused of exploiting passengers’ misery yesterday amid claims that travellers affected by the global IT crash at the weekend were made to pay for expensive upgrades to reach their destinations. The airline faced criticism over its response to the chaos after it emerged that trapped passengers had to spend up to £800 to gain access to spare seats in premium economy cabins. It was suggested that BA may fail to reimburse in full passengers who had to travel with other airlines, despite some being landed with bills of up to £1,600. Some of the 75,000 delayed passengers had been required to pay up to 55p a minute to access a BA hotline from their mobile phones to lodge claims for compensation.
The IT meltdown that grounded hundreds of British Airways flights has become a lost luggage crisis. Yesterday thousands of people who checked in their bags at the start of the Bank Holiday weekend before their flights were cancelled were still desperately trying to find them. The airline has admitted its website has been unable to cope with the number of people trying to post a lost luggage report. Some passengers are so angry with the company that they are planning to boycott British Airways from now on. Customers have found it impossible to get through to the BA’s call centres, which are based in Madrid and India. Worse, it has emerged BA’s customer service operation is weighted against British passengers in terms of call costs and operating hours.
BRITISH Airways will run a full flight schedule at both Heathrow and Gatwick on Tuesday after its IT systems were crippled. At least 200,000 passengers were hit by the massive global failure on Saturday, with many stranded at Heathrow, Gatwick and other airports worldwide. But the problems have been exacerbated by the airline’s communication and handling, with passengers claiming on Twitter they had waited 24 hours to get a response to complaints. Many have vowed never to fly with BA again. Andrew Charlton, head of the consulting firm Aviation Advocacy, warned the airline’s reputation now depends on how the company reacts in the next two weeks.
Passengers vowed to boycott British Airways yesterday as experts warned that the airline had only two weeks to restore its reputation after last weekend’s catastrophic IT failure. The airline was flooded with complaints from travellers, including many loyal customers, who insisted that they would never fly with BA again. At least 75,000 passengers were affected by the IT failure on Saturday, with many being stranded at Heathrow, Gatwick and other airports worldwide. By last night two thirds had flown to their destinations, BA said. Problems were compounded by poor communication from the airline, with some passengers waiting 24 hours to get a response to complaints via Twitter.
BRITISH Airways faced new fury over holiday travel chaos last night for telling customers to ring a premium-rate phone number at 62p a minute. The beleaguered airline’s official Twitter account advised passengers to call its helpline on 0844 493 0797. Calls to that number cost 7p which goes straight to BA plus a rip-off access charge of up to 55p a minute imposed by the phone company. The airline has a cheaper national-rate number and a free number which it was advertising elsewhere. David Hickson, of the Fair Telecoms Campaign, said: “BA is being greedy and foolish. “The Fair Telecoms Campaign calls on all users of 084 numbers to cease this foolishness.”